Viola Davis On Breaking Down ‘Fences’, Awards, #OscarsSoWhite, A Love Of Theatre & BIG Hair – The Actor’s Side

Paramount Pictures

She’s a two-time Tony winner and has an Emmy for her ABC TV series How To Get Away With Murder — the first won by an African American lead actress in the Drama Series category. Add to that two Oscar nominations and a certain third coming this month for Fences in a role for which she previously won one of those Tonys and is also a SAG and Globe nominee, and you have one of the most formidable and talented actors working today. Viola Davis does it all, and does it all particularly well.


In this two-part interview for my Deadline video series The Actor’s Side, she discusses the pride, the passion and the process that brought her to this point. In Part 1 (above), she discusses the differences between playing Fences‘ Rose on stage versus doing it on film — and with much the same cast. She also talks about seeing her father dying and how that affected the way she approaches acting, her Rhode Island beginnings, and how seeing Cicely Tyson in the TV movie The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman set her on a course to a profession she has never left behind. Oh, and check out her comments on the very “big hair” she once had, as well as just what all these awards really mean to her.

In Part 2 (below) Davis talks about the magic of the theatre, her upcoming projects and production company, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the true meaning of diversity. Plus, what working with Denzel Washington as a director really is all about.

Fences is currently in release from Paramount.

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